In the NY Giants’ opening game against the Steelers, it was clear that Corey Ballentine was a liability at cornerback. Here are some potential upgrades:
The NY Giants defensive unit showed a lot of promise in their first game of the season against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Monday night. The defensive line led by Dexter Lawrence, Leonard Williams, and Dalvin Tomlinson got consistent pressure on Ben Roethlisberger. Outside linebackers Markus Golden and Lorenzo Carter also played well at outside linebacker.
Offseason free-agent signing Blake Martinez looked very much like a sideline-to-sideline linebacker who could both stop the run and provide adequate coverage skills as he racked up 12 tackles in the game.
Fellow free-agent signing James Bradberry provided lockdown coverage at the cornerback one spot, while Jabrill Peppers, Julian Love, and Logan Ryan played admirably at the safety positions. Even rookie Darnay Holmes helped up okay in his first professional game despite being charged with covering one of the league’s elite wideouts in Juju Smith-Shuster.
One position that was a glaring issue for the NY Giants was that of the cornerback position opposite of Bradberry. That position was primarily manned by Corey Ballentine.
While Ballentine recorded the second-most total tackles on the team against the Steelers, it was mainly due to the number of times receivers he was covering were targeted.
On 7 of the 14 first down conversions that the Steelers had against the Giants, it was a receiver that Corey Ballentine was covering who was able to pick up the first down. It is crushing when a defense plays well and one player on the unit is responsible for over half of the times the opposing offense was able to continue their drive.
It is clear that the Steelers were aware that Ballentine was a liability in coverage. That fact is not one that will be lost on opposing defenses as they watch game film to prepare against the NY Giants.
As a result, the GMEN would be wise to make a change at the second cornerback position. Whether a replacement for Ballentine comes from an internal candidate or from someone not currently on the roster, something must change if the NY Giants hope to compete this year.
Let’st ake a look at some internal and external candidates who could be viable options to help the Giants upgrade from Corey Ballentine at the second outside cornerback position moving forward.